The Ed Show | September 27, 2011
wings. us tonight. this is, i think, a very important story, and i want every american to understands how it will affect you. this is our infrastructure crumbles and being attacked by conservatives that think that privatizing everything is the best thing to do. today postal workers across the country took to the streets in an attempt to save the united states postal service . they are rallying, you see, in support of a house resolution bill 1351 , which would help solve the postal service 's budget problems created by congress. right now 120,000 jobs are on the line because of a manufactured budget crisis . i'll explain. it all stems from a piece of legislation republicans passed in 2006 in the lame duck session . hold it right there. what happened in 2006 ? nancy pelosi , and here come the democrats, right? before she got the gavel, they just, you know, wanted to just get after it. before they lost control the congress, the gop wanted to stick it to the workers one last time with the postal accountability and enhancement act. the law forced the postal service to prefund -- get this now, prefund for years to come, decades to come, 75 years of pension and health care benefits in a ten-year window. that's a hell of a lot of money. it's an enormous, unnecessary financial strain on the post office with more than $5.5 billion in payments per year. hold it right there. grab this. you're running a business, and somebody in congress just passed a law saying, well, you have got to fork out another $5.5 billion to stay afloat because we tell you you have to fund your retirement and pension for the next 75 years just to make sure you guys know what the hell you're doing. what business in america gets nailed like this by the congress? now, keep in mind what was happening in 2006 ? well, we had the wars going on, and they were off-budget, weren't they? you see, the republicans, they didn't want to pay for the wars, but they wanted to stick it to the postal service positive make sure their funded 75 years out when it comes to retirement and health care . hell, they were funding employees before they went to work for the post office . americans are fighting back. this is a tv commercial in support of the postal service . here it is.
>> the postal service is critical to the economy delivering mail, medicine and packages, yet they're closing thousands of offices sxlashing service and want to lay off more than 100,000 workers. the postal service is recording financial losses but not for reasons you might think. the problem? a burden no other agency or company bears. a 2006 law that drains 5 billion a year from the revenue whale they have to pay billions more into federal accounts. congress created this problem and can fix it.
>> yes, they can. because of the 2006 legislation, the postal service may be forced right now to cut more than 100,000 jobs. get this. the president is out on the road trying to create jobs and fas an american jobs bill, but we have legislation on the table right now that will gut 120,000 jobs with an agency that makes money if you don't put a legislative harness on them. let's also note that they're going to cancel saturday service and closing offices in rural america and destroying a great american tradition that started 235 years ago. you see, the united states postal service was created on july 26th , 1775 by the original tea petitiartiers. but today's tea party wants to eliminate it and turn it over to the private sector . i don't think they understand what's at stake here. joining me is the president of the american postal workers union . good to have you with us tonight.
>> good to be with you, ed.
>> i need you to correct me on this if i'm wrong. doenlt be afraid of to correct me. ups and federalexpress has the postal service delivering 25% of their volume because the postal service will go places they won't go. is that true?
>> that's correct. we by mandate have to go to every door in the united states six days a week.
>> what happens if you're not in those small towns? what's ups and the private sector and federalexpress going to do then?
>> i don't think they'll pick up the additional costs. i think if anything happens to the postal service , the more profitable areas of the country will be stripped away where someone can make billions of dollars and pay workers very few dollars with low benefits and make a lot of money. they're not going to do that in a rural area , so the federal government will be stuck delivering the mail in areas where there's no money to be made. it's total cost .
>> you have 574,000 employees, 120,000 could be gone because of this legislation. you want americans to understand that this legislation needs to be reversed. is that what the the house bill is all about?
>> the how bill frees up money, overages the post office paid into the federal government . it recognizes the fact we've overfunded our pension plans by 50 do $75 billion. it recognizes another one is overfunded by $6.9 billion. there's a lot of overages there, and all the postal service -- we want the postal service to move that money around to other accounts instead of sitting there in retirement accounts.
>> it's a government take-over. the republicans are out there talking about regulation and they've laid one on the post afs service that is harnessing you big-time and costs jobs and close facilities and hurt small businesses and hurt the disabled and hurt poor, it's going to hurt the middle class . why? why?
>> i assume they want to use that money for other purposes. if they gave that money back -- one of the main reasons they don't want to give that money back to the post office , and we're not saying give it back in whole sums but allow the credits for other areas is because if they took the money credited it to other areas it would show how underfunded the rest of the federal government is. all the government agencies funded by tax dollars, they get them and spend them and they're not putting money aside.
>> no tax dollars fund the postal service ?
>> that's correct.
>> zero tax dollars. this is going to hurt small town newspapers. this is going to hurt local jumpism and the direct mailers and small businesses big-time, the poor, the disabled. we don't care about anybody any more in country. it's all about making a dollar is what it is. the republicans had the wars off budget in the lame duck session of the congress in 2006 , this is what the republicans stuck this country with. the beginning of the end . would you call it the beginning of the end of the postal service ?
>> if it goes through as some of the congressmen want it to happen and the not the way we would like it to happen, it will dismantle the postal service and have severe ramifications throughout the rest of the country. we had rallies in 500 locations. some areas had 1500 people and some areas 60. 500 congressional districts , and we estimate at a mince we had a minimum showing of 100 people average in these 500. that's 50,000 people.
>> you had a great turnout, and i hope you do it again. if the democrats are listening tonight, just all of you get on board and tell the president to get on board with 1351 . if you're out there talking about creating jobs and you're going to let them gut 120,000, come on, what are we doing here? cliff duffy, i have to return.
>> 25,000 would be veterans.
>> cliff, thanks for joining us tonight. i think i might do this story sden. michele bachmann is flashing back to the 1960s . she says terrorists are setting up shop in cuba and pointing missiles at the united states . that puts her right in the zone. this man wants president obama to raise his taxes. the vast majority of americans , they think he's correct. ezra kline explains why this message is a winner for the president.